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Saturday, April 14, 2018

1909. Get postal mail information.

My mailbox is down the road from my house, and some days, I just don’t feel like going out to check the mail. It would be so cool if there was some way to receive an email that would notify me of what’s in my mailbox, so I wouldn’t have to trek down there if there wasn’t mail to pick up. Am I just dreaming?

We both have long walks to a mailbox as well it's just too much work to trudge down to the mailbox to find nothing there. Although a little more exercise probably wouldn't hurt either of us.

Luckily the U.S. Postal Service makes this easy. They have a new service named "informed delivery" which you can find https://informeddelivery.usps.com/box/pages/intro/start.action .

Once you set it up and it's free you get an email every day with a photo of what's going to appear in your mailbox. The U.S. Postal Service doesn't open your mail it just photos the outside as it marks it for delivery. The package list is also available and it includes tracking information. Informed delivery isn't available for everyone or everywhere but it certainly works great for me personally and I would recommend it highly I get in the mail every morning with information about what's going to appear in my mailbox. So I know whether or not I should make the trek

1905. Convert Phone audio to stereo

Over the years, I’ve subscribed to a number of email lists that I’d prefer to no longer hear from. I get far too much political and sales emails. I know I could unsubscribe from each manually, but is there some tool I can use to take care of this for me?

This question hits close to home because I am also in the nearly one hundred percent deaf in one ear because of a sudden hearing loss in my forties.

So I feel your pain on this. Listening to stereo audio and headphones is a pain because some dialogue is in the wrong ear and you can't hear it. All modern smartphones include an option to combine both stereo channels into a single channel sending the same information to both ears. To find this look for your devices accessibility settings. Look at the option there to convert audio to mono.

On I O. S. select settings, then general, then accessibility, then turn on Mono audio. That's all you have to do.

I tried it on an Android phone and there was a similar setting under accessibility. If you need to use it with just one earpiece or you want both your pieces to play the same audio This trick is for you.

1910. Facebook privacy issues


Retrieve Facebook Data

I’ve heard a lot about Facebook and its use (or misuse) of my personal data. I’m a little uncomfortable posting anything, liking anything, or even responding to anything there, because of this data use. What do you recommend we do to safeguard our information?
Clearly, Doug and Ken are not Facebook fans. It’s possible/probable that we’re too old to really “get” social media, but we try. We really do. And Ken even bought into it for a while and posted a lot of personal stuff on Facebook. He “liked” a lot of things, posted personal information, enjoyed getting birthday greetings on the special day, posted notices about important life events, and more. But no longer.
As it has become clear that the folks at Facebook have no idea how to control the data that we post online, it’s also clear to us that Facebook is not a good place to post personal information. For example, if some nefarious character was looking for information about you, that person might start by looking at Facebook to retrieve your birthdate; given that information, the crook could start digging into other online records to find important personal information that identifies you.
So what do we suggest? Well, perhaps we’re a bit too paranoid, but we’d start by deleting all personal information, such as your birthday, school, work, and marital status. (And yes, we’ve done this.) Although this action doesn’t help with prior data scraping from Facebook, it makes it impossible for future information gathering to happen.
To get start, in a Web browser, head to Facebook.com, and click the little triangle in upper-right corner of the Facebook page. Select Settings. Look for your personal settings to remove all the personal info. In addition, in the Apps settings, turn off all Websites, Apps, and Games (and don't use them). Yes, we know that farm game was fun, but is it worth distributing even a tiny bit of information to those folks bent on stealing information about you from Facebook?
In the Security and Login section, make sure all information is available only to you, or to friends.
Finally, although it won’t help with data breaches, it’s useful to know what Facebook “knows” about you. Under the General settings, select Download a Copy of your Facebook data. You'll get two emails: One to confirm that Facebook is preparing your data, and another to let you know when the download is ready. In the second email, click the link to download your data. In the downloaded data, click on the index.html file to load it in a browser--this shows what Facebook knows about you. This information includes anything you’ve posted online, any photos you have uploaded, and more. If you uploaded a lot of data, the download can be quite large, so be prepared to wait. You may be surprised at how much Facebook has on you.
If you love Facebook, feel free to stay involved. But please, take a moment and clean up your security settings and remove any non-essential information. Do it before the next big data breach.

1908. Disk storage full - Windows? Delete System32 Folder?


Delete System32 Folder?

My computer’s storage is getting nearly full, and I thought I would clear some space by removing stuff I don’t need. I ran across a very large folder named System32—it’s just chock full of stuff that I didn’t put there. Can I remove it to regain the space it’s consuming?
Should you delete the System32 folder in Windows? Here are two simple answers: a) You shouldn’t, and b) You can’t. The System32 folder contains a ton of internal files and programs that Windows needs in order to operate. If you try to delete it, or its contents, you'll get warnings and errors indicating that you can't delete the files. If you are persistent and override the security settings of the files so you can delete them, you'll watch Windows slowly die as files get deleted. (Think of the scene in the movie 2001 where the computer, HAL, has his memory wiped as he sings "Daisy, Daisy." It's the same thing, really.)
If you really need to clean up some hard drive space, look for videos or large downloads—those are the files that take up a lot of space. Large backups can consume a lot of hard drive space, as well. Remember that storage space is different from the amount of memory in your computer, and the amount of consumed memory. Running a lot of programs concurrently consumes your RAM (Random Access Memory) but this has nothing to do with your amount of disk-based storage.
We've mentioned it before but look for the application named WinDirStat on the Web. It's free, and immensely useful for determining what's taking up your hard drive space. You can find it online at WinDirStat.net, and you should check it out if you need to clean up your disk storage.
In any case, don't even think about deleting the System32 folder. Yes, it’s a large folder, but deleting it won't help, and it won't work.

1907. Expand Shortened Links



You recently ran a tip describing how to hover over a link in email or on a Web site to determine where that link will actually go, and that was a really useful tip. Sometimes, however, I get links that are compressed, or shortened or something. I get links from goo.gl or bit.ly—clearly, these are obfuscating the destination URL. How can I preview where these links will take me without actually going there? I want to ensure the links are safe before clicking.
You are so correct: You should never click a link you don’t trust, and you should never, ever click a shortened link (like the ones you mentioned, and there are many others: bit.ly and goo.gl are the ones we see most often, along with tinyurl.com). For these shortened links, unless you’re really sure you’re getting the link from someone you know you can trust, you should preview the link.
What is a shortened URL, anyway? Rather than including long URLs in article, emails, and Web sites; it’s far simpler to replace the URL with a shortened, or compressed, version. You can find many online services that take a URL, store away its value, and provide you with a short version. These services maintain a reference to the original URL, allowing you to use the shortened version in its place. For example, here’s a URL to an item on Amazon.com:https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01H1CDURE/ref=s9_acsd_al_bw_c_x_2_w?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-3&pf_rd_r=9SR87R8DGH9C93A2A2G2&pf_rd_r=9SR87R8DGH9C93A2A2G2&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=5a5d1f09-c0cc-4be7-88f4-b7bc72469aba&pf_rd_p=5a5d1f09-c0cc-4be7-88f4-b7bc72469aba&pf_rd_i=13270237011.Obviously, no one can type that URL to find the item to which we’re referring.On the other hand, the shortened version might look like this: https://goo.gl/aW4j5v. Go ahead, look it up: We’re sure you’ll be jumping all over the opportunity to purchase this useful item.
So how do you preview the URL without actually going to the page? Like in so many other places, the “devil is in the details.” Each different URL-shortening service provides a means of doing this, but each one is different. One thing is for sure, however: As we said, unless you trust the source of the shortened URL, do not click it. Instead, copy it (or type it from scratch into the URL bar on a browser). Don’t press Enter, however. Each URL-shortening provider allows you to type something at the end of the URL to preview it. For example, adding a “+” after the URL takes you to a description page (that is, type https://goo.gl/aW4j5v+ for our previous example). Bit.ly works the same way. For TinyUrl.com, add the word preview in front of the URL.
For more information on previewing shortened URLs, check out this page: https://goo.gl/xyNUVm. You’ll find everything you need to know about the topic there.

1906. Easily Unsubscribe from Mailing Lists


Over the years, I’ve subscribed to a number of email lists that I’d prefer to no longer hear from. I get far too much political and sales emails. I know I could unsubscribe from each manually, but is there some tool I can use to take care of this for me?
We certainly understand your frustration here. During the 2016 election cycle, Ken signed up for a bajillion email newsletters to keep track of everything, and at this point, would prefer to hear nothing at all about anything. He found a useful tool to clean out his inbox, and has given it a try. It works!
First of all, understand that you never want to click an Unsubscribe link in spam emails: Doing so just alerts the sender that there’s a human at the receiving end of the email. For spam, you’re better off using spam filtering in your email client to rid your inbox of the messages.
On the other hand, for legitimate emails that you’d just prefer to no longer receive, you can and should click the Unsubscribe link to remove yourself from the distribution list. If you have just a few, you can do this manually. If you’ve gone overboard, however, you may need some help automating this.
We’ve run across several “unsubscribe” services over the years, but a new one, available for free at getunsubscriber.com, works the best of any we’ve seen with the least intrusion into your life.
Once you sign up at getunsubscriber.com, you grant the site access to your email inbox; it creates a new folder named Unsubscribe. For any email list you’d like to unsubscribe from, drag an email to the Unsubscribe folder, and the service takes care of the rest. That’s it. You can re-subscribe if you want, but in general, the service removes you from the email list.
Unsubscriber works with pretty much any of the most popular email providers (Gmail, Outlook, Office365, Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo), but there’s a down side, and it’s a big one: You have to give the service access to your email inbox. If you’re not comfortable with that, you won’t want to use the service. On the other hand, they promise (really) that they won’t look at any folder except the Unsubscribe folder. This is a tough decision, but one you’ll need to make. Ken bought into it, and believes that the service is honest.
If you find that you need help managing all your email newsletters, give Unsubscriber a try by visiting GetUnsubscriber.com. It definitely does what it sets out to do: You just need to determine if the service is worth the trust you must grant it.

1914. Wireless printer goes offline

My wireless printer seems to go offline offen and I can't connect.  I have to re-install it.  What can I do?

The most common reason your wireless printer stops working is the result of the use of Dynamic IP addresses.

Lots of Blah, blah, balh words. But these are important.

When you get your wireless printer, the setup is usually fast and easy. This is because the printer setup system uses dynamic IP addressing. Each device on your internal network needs an address to be able to talk to the world. Your internal network has it's own set of private addresses that are differnent from the outside (internet) world.

That little black box your ISP gave you (modem, router) translates your internal and external addresses . Thank goodness. Dynamic address expire after a number of days and the black box gives out a new address (usually the same as the previous one). This is where the problem occurs.

Sometime (not often) this IP address may change and can cause the printer to no longer work. The best way to stop the problem is to give the printer a FIXED IP address. This process is different on all printers so you need to find the instructions for your printer. The other wrinkle is using an IP address that is not used by any other device on your network. Also not a hard task but is necessary.

You need to access your black box gizmo from your ISP to find the available fixed IP addresses. If you are not having the lost printer problem while using a wireless printer then nothing needs to be done.

But if you are taking the time to set up a fixed wireless IP address for your printer will take only 5+ minutes and is well worth the energy.


1911. After 1709 upgrade program start after boot.

I upgraded my Windows 10 computer to the 1709 Creators update. Now programs keep starting up when I start Winwods for no reason. Not in my startup folder.

After your computer does an upgarde to the Fall Creators update 1709 some programs that you do not have identified to automatically start suddenly are starting automatically after you reboot.

You can look at the Startup tasks by opening the Task Manager (right click on the task bar and select Task Manager). Select More Details, and then the Startup tab.

Here you will see the list of programs that Windows starts for you automatically. But those programs you are having issues with starting aren't listed. Well it turns out the 1709 update tries to help you out by restarting programs that you left running when the computer shuts down. Nice feature if that is what you want. Not so much if you don't. So what to do.

Well currently there does not seem to be the ability to automatically not restart these programs you have left running. You can however set up a special Shutdown command. First try this. Open a Command window. Remember that old DOS window. Then type shutdown -t 0 -s and hit enter. This will shutdown all the applications before shuting down the computer. When you restart only the desired applications will reopen. If this is how you want things to work, set up this shutdown command as a shortcut and use it when you want to shutdown. This of course will not resolve things when the computer shuts down without your desire. But it is likely when this happens you do want the programs to restart.

Hopefully they will add an option to resolve this new "feature". We will let you know.

https://www.windowscentral.com/how-control-apps-startup-windows-10

1912. Hidden WIFI SSID's

I have heard about Hidden WIFI networks. Why and how/what should I do about them?

Hidden WIFI Names are simply that. WIFI names that will not appear in your list but in fact are available if you know the exact name and password.

First you might ask why? Well it is primarily availalble for security. Let's talk about your WIFI network at home. You see your SSID (Service SET IDentifier = Name of the WIFI) and so does everyone else within range. If they know something about you they may be able to guess your password. And please tell me you have a good password. Like the dogs name you yell outside your door so everyone can hear.

Well if you create the WIFI SSID name as Hidden then no one including yourself can even try to access your WIFI without knowing the exact name. You can because you didn't name it after your CAT.

All you do to access it is choose Other Name/Hidden name on your device and you will enter the WIFI name and then your password. Hopefully they won't guess both. The way you initially specify the Hidden SSID name is different on your WIFI devices.

To specify the hidden SSID on your do a search for hidden SSID and your device name. You only have to do this once, so it is not painful. It will also give you better security, and it will stop those strange cars parked outside your house from using your WIFI internet access and are watching their favorite Netflix movies or gosh knows what.

This is especially important if you are paying for usage. If you use your smartphone as a hotspot this is especially important. However at the time of this writing the iPhone does not offer hiding the hotspot SSID. Some Andoid devices allow this, some do not. I suggest hiding your SSID on all of your WIFI AP's. ALSO USE A complex password.

If the hiding the SSID is a problem when you have guests, you can set up a "Guest" SSID that will limit users that use this AP to only being able to access the internet. They cannot access any device on your network. This is a good idea regardless of using hidden SSID's. OK I have said SSID too many times.

1913. What are Service Providers?

Some ask about who should use as their ISP, ESP, WSP, all of those SP's. What are SP's and why?

Well we need to start at the beginning. The SP portion stands for Service Provider.

The first letter is the type of service. Depending on where you are and what device you are using gives clarity to the exact type and name of service. Let's start with "I" the "I" is for Internet. If you are at home using your computer with your ATT, Comcast, Greater Broadband then your ISP Internet Service Provider is that service ATT or Comcast.

If you are using your cell phone without WIFI then your ISP is your cell phone carrier.

The other "SP's" like "E" is for Email (SBCGlobal, yahoo, gmail, Office 365), "W" is for WEB who is hosting your private web site.

If you don't have your own private domain name like techtipguys.com you normally don't care about those WSP's. If you do have your own domain then you have it registered somewhere like NetworkSolutions, Godaddy, TuCows (yes TuCows), Bluehost and others.

But you don't need to use the same place the domain name is registered to host your email or web services. Techtipguys recommend using either Office365 or Google Busines email to host your email. For Web there are many.

If you use any free email services we recommend gmail.com or outlook.com. We strongly recommend not using your ISP's email address like sbcglobal.com. It is not their business and it is just not secure.

So SP's are important. Remember to be sure you know which one you are using and for what purpose.

1915. UNSEND an Email

I have sometimes started to respond to a message and forgot who the message was going to. And I said some things I shouldn't have. I click send and suddenly remember it is going to more people than I wanted. How can I "UNSEND".


Well sadly there is no "UNSEND" command. However if you use an email application like Outlook, Thunderbird, Mac Mail or others vs. using a browser you have options. These applications have various ways to at least give you some time to go into the applications and stop the actual send process.

Outlook as an example allows you to create "Rules". I have set up a rules that say for each email I tell it to send, it will store the email in the Outbox folder for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes the system will automatically send the email. You can control the number of minutes to pause before sending.

If you want the email to be sent without this delay I set up the rule to ignore the delay if I mark the message as important. It will then be sent when I click on the send button.

If I decide to stop the email from being sent within the time delay, I go to the Outbox folder and can delete, modify the email. Most of your other email applications have similar options that will provide your with the "UNSEND" feature you desire. Do a search for your email application and UNSEND or delay send, or some other text string that will accomplish your indecision.

Outlook - https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/edkatibah/2012/12/17/setting-up-a-delayed-sending-rule-for-email-in-microsoft-outlook/

GMAIL - https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/gmail/ufA1WZgdSlo

1916. Windows 10 1709 Creator Update causing freezes restarts.

It continues to restart or just Freezes. Help

Actually there are a number of different ways this update may raise a problem. Restarting randomly is one. Another prominent problem is the computer seems to freeze at the point it is logging you on to Windows. Your name appears and that pesky little circle of dots that rotate suddenly stops and you have no keyboard or mouse access. You try to force the power off by holding the power button and then turning it back on. Same results.

Usually to resolve thing problem all you need to do is to back off that update that took place last night. But how do you get access to do this. Well magic comes to mind.

Calling support or trying the following: You want to get to a screen that allows you to boot with advanced options. Depending on your computer this will vary. When the initial manufacturer splash screen appears start to press the ESC, F2, F8, F10, or Del key repeatedly. The specific key will vary my manufacturer. Do a search for your make/model and "interrupt boot for advanced options. This is the most difficult part.

After the initial special screen comes up Choose Advanced Options, and on one of the options you will see an option that will allow you to go back to a restore point. DO NOT CHOOSE TO restore your system to the initial state!!! Choose the last restore point done, and continue. It usually takes 15-30 minutes to finally allow you to log in.

If you are able to login to your computer and want to back up to a previous Restore Point it is lots easier. Again do a search for your operating system and go back to a previous restore point.

You know we always recommend IMAGE backups. Even if your computer isn't able to boot and log you in, if you have image backup software and created a proper thumb drive boot device, you should also do a special backup before trying the restore point in case the restore point fails. Also if you have a backup like we recommend and a Windows update messed up your computer you can restore your computer to a backup prior to the update.

Another good reason to listen to Ken and Doug and backup, backup, and backup again. .

Sunday, February 25, 2018

1904. Spoofing caller-id?

I got a call from a friend saying they got a call from me trying to sell them something.  I didn't call them.  How was my telephone number used by them in caller-id?


Unfortunately there is not much that can be done. Usually these callers are spoofing legitimate telephone numbers, so tracing the call is difficult.

Spoofing a telephone number is illegal. So you can contact authorities and they are supposed to deal with the problem. But it is difficult.

Your telephone company must provide you with the ability to block the number. But often the people will just start using another number. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology allows the caller to do spoofing easily.

Here is a link that will help you follow up on the problem. https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/spoofing-and-caller-id

1903. I Bar and more about Mouse cotrol

Control shape and size of mouse cursor.

I work on many different computers. Some screen are bigger and better than others. But the one thing that is hard to work with is the mouse.

However it's shape, size and color can be controlled. In Windows 10 go to Settings, Devices, Mouse, advanced Mouse options.

In other versions of Winows and your Mac you can do the same types of changes.

Once in the mouse settings, you can specify the button configuration, speed settings, change the pointer shape from arrow to a hand finger pointing. Lot's of options. You can change what the mouse looks like when the system is busy and when you hover over text you want to change

What helps me the most is the color of the mouse when it is over a white background vs. a black background. It makes it so much easier to see the mouse.

Also related to the mouse is computers with a trackpad. When you also plug in a mouse you can make the trackpad disabled. I use my trackpad when traveling. But when at the office I use a mouse and it is so irritating to have a mouse and you accidentally touch the trackpad and move the mouse. You can turn the trackpad off.

Give the mouse setting a review and make you computer work better and easier.



1902. WTurn off Windows update

Windows updates suck. How to turn them off

OK. First it is easy to turn Windows updates off. Go to Admin Tools, Services, Windows Update, Disable. Then OK.

A Windows service is a program that runs in the background to do things. if you disable the service for the Windows update it will no longer update Windows. Short term this is OK. But you want the updates to fix things.

You might want to just delay updates for a month or so. You can do this by: Go to settings, Update and security, advanced options, Pause updates, turn ON.

But you really want to consider why you are stopping Windows updates. If it is interrupting your work in the same Settings area you can control the time that updates will run.

If you had an update cause a problem, you can use our image backup solutions to make an image of your system before allowing the update. You can then recover easily.

We recommend keeping up with your system updates but you can control when and how often they run.



1901. Translate Voice to text

I need to translate some voice (MP3) files into text. Know of a good service or application?

I hope everyone knows that we also publish a blog. You can review all of our techtips at blog.techtipguys.com.

Ken is a great ad-libber. He never writes out the answers to our tips. So I have to take those recorded tips and publish them.

I use a get service called VoiceBase. You can sign up and receive a great free trial.

You can upload the voice recordings and within minutes they provide you with a very accurate text of your recordings. I would say they are well above 95% accurate.

Usually only some punctuation is required.

They also provide human translation in the service.

So go to http://voicebase.com Great service good prices, free trial. And for special translation you can have them do it using a live person. Highly recommend!

1900. Mac Hotspot - How?

Your Mac can be a Hotspot? Why would you do this?

Kken you have the right idea. If you have a smartphone, making this a hotspot makes sense because you can then use the cell connection to allow your Mac or PC access to the internet.

But why make your Mac a hotspot? It probably doesn't have a cell internet connection. Well many offices like you mentioned do not have WiFi but do have a wired Ethernet connection. Now you can connect to that and create your own WiFi hotsopot.

The Wi-Fi hotspot option is part of the “Internet Sharing” feature in Mac OS X. You'll find it in the System Preferences window. Click the Apple menu, select System Preferences, and click the Sharing icon. Select the “Internet Sharing” option in the list. You’ll now need to select the Internet connection you want to share with the devices.

The one big limitation is that you can’t both be connected to a Wi-Fi network and host a Wi-Fi network at the same time. In the “To computers using” box, enable the Wi-Fi option. This will create a Wi-Fi hotspot, and the Internet connection you selected at the top of the window will be shared with devices that connect to the Wi-Fi network.

Click the “Wi-Fi Options” button at the bottom of the window to configure your Wi-Fi hotspot. Select your preferred network name and the best Wi-Fi channel.

Be sure to click the “Security” box and select “WPA2-Personal” and provide a password. By default, the hotspot will be configured without a password and anyone will be able to connect.

1899. Image backup - Carbonite?

Why do you guys recommend Image Backups? Doesn't Carbonite work just as well?

Carbonite was originally designed to backup data files and folders. As internet speeds improved they are backing up more and more data. They even offer for an extra charge image backup. You do need faster internet speeds to even use this effectively.

Our full Image backup is intended to give you the protection against full disk failure, a Virus, or ransomware, and software failure that could destroy a disk.

Let's say you have this type of failure. It will take someone at least 3-4 hours recover. To install the operating system, install all the applications and enhancements since you originally got the computer then restore your data.

With an image copy it will take about 1 hour and you don't miss things. Like I said Carbonite offers this now if you have fast internet, but you will still probably need to have them send you a copy of the image on disk because it is so large. That costs money and time.

Spend $50 and buy a backup drive. Use image backup software like Macrium Reflect for Windows 10 Image Backup, or Carbon Copy Cloner for your Mac. Save hours of time to rebuild your disk, OS, Apps, data.
Carbonite, Google Drive, One Drive, and IDrive are great for files, multiple versions etc. NOT good for disk restore.

Use a combination of local Image backups and the other file backups for the best of both worlds.


1898. Google Calendar Dumped its best feature

I’ve been using Google Calendar forever to keep my life organized. Recently, they updated the design so it’s all pretty, but I can’t make it allow me to enter events like I used to. Previously, I could enter an event like “Lunch with Rhoda tomorrow at noon” and the calendar would create the event with the correct name and time for me. Now it just creates a full-day event with the title “Lunch with Rhoda tomorrow at noon.” That’s not very helpful! Is there some way to enter events like I used to?


And here in lies the problem with using an online service for an important part of your life. There's no guarantee that the provider won't change that service over time and in this case Google made the feature pretty but they removed functionality.

The name of the feature is natural language. The ability to enter a new event with the title "lunch with Rhoda tomorrow at noon" requires Google to parse that text out and figure out what part of it is the title. What part of it is the date, and if you enter a location they should be able to parse that out as well. But they remove that from the web app and it's unclear whether they're going to be bringing it back. So the answer is no you can't enter events like you used to using the Google web app.

They did add back in the ability to set the title and the time so if you type in lunch with Rhoda at noon, they will at least on the given date put it at the right time. But it doesn't allow you to set a date.

Outlook supports this in a very limited way. You can say on the event to set the date to be next Wednesday and they'll figure out what date that is but it's not nearly as nice as what Google used to do if you're using a Mac.

The MAC calendar and the app Fantastic Hour which is my favorite calendar app support this fully. Fantastic Hour lets me enter things like Meet Rhoda for lunch every Tuesday until May fifth at one pm and they'll get that right. That's pretty complex stuff now if you still want to use Google Calendar and enter dates in that same old way you can use the Chrome extension. There is an extension for Chrome for Google calendar that makes this happen or you can use your phone app. The Google calendar app on your phone or tablet still handles this correctly.

So in summary the web app is broken and it's unclear whether they're going to fix it or not but you have other options to replace that functionality.




1893. Add Wireless Charging to Android

I have an older Android phone, and would love to be able to use wireless charging--I love the idea of just dropping my phone into a wireless charger without dealing with cables. Is there some way to make my phone support wireless charging?

As with all things it depends. Lots of Android phones support wireless charging natively. So all you have to do is find a compatible charger drop it on that charger and it will charge. On the other hand some phones don't.

A friend gave me an Android Galaxy S5 to work with and it doesn't support wireless charging natively. But I looked online and it can support wireless charging with a little insert you put behind the back cover right on top of the battery. This adds wireless charging capability without much effort. Your phone may also support that sort of add on hardware to make wireless charging possible.

If your phone doesn't support that there are lots of cases out there that wrap around the phone that provide wireless charging.They plug into your phone's charging port and then provide their own charging port for charging themselves. If you can get that sort of case great. It'll cost you a little extra to get that functionality.


  1. So look to see if your phone supports wireless charging natively.
  2. If it doesn't look to see if there's some add on piece of hardware you can add to the phone to add wireless charging.
  3. if not then look for a case that wraps around your phone and provides wireless charging. 
  4. If none of those are available and you really want wireless charging it may be time to update your phone.

1894. Wipe an Old IPhone

I recently purchased a new phone, and I’d like to sell my existing iPhone. I certainly don’t want the new buyer to see all my data, however. How can I reset my phone so all my data is gone?

You really don't want to give away your phone with your data on it that's for sure. You need to completely reset your phone to its factory settings before you do that.

However you probably want to back up your data or at least ensure that it's all stored in the cloud somewhere. Next you want to disable the "Find My iPhone" option in settings you. Yon't be able to reset your phone with that feature turned on.

If you have an Apple Watch paired to your phone this is the time to unpaired it as well. You do that in the watch app. Next you want to remove your phone from your iCloud account. In settings tap your username then scroll to the bottom and sign out. Finally go to settings general, reset and choose erase all content in settings. You'll have to confirm a couple times. Finally your phone will be reset to its default settings.

Now if you want to sell it we've had good luck on "Selling phones". It's a very honest service. They do a good job. They pay you on time and they pay you a reasonable amount. So if you want to sell your phone and don't want to deal with e-bay or Craigslist check out Gazelle.com.

1895. Mute Email Threads on Gmail

I’m a Gmail user, and recently, I got involved in a family discussion via email that simply wouldn’t stop. I kept deleting emails, and more kept showing up from distant family members hitting “reply all.” Is there some way to get myself out of email discussions like these, when I don’t care about any further email messages on the topic?


First of all don't reply all unless that's absolutely required. We hate people that reply all when it has no business going to everyone. If you're sending out an email if you want to avoid reply all the answer is simple just put the recipients in the B.C.C. line instead of the C.C. line and the blind carbon copy won't allow them to reply all.

End of story.

But if this nightmare has already started and you're using GMail it's easy to get yourself out of the conversation. You can mute a conversation. In that case you simply won't see any more responses. If you're using the GMail web app and you'll have to be using the web app to make this happen. You first select the message, look for the more dropdown at the top of the list of messages and click it in that list. You'll see the mute option. Once you select mute you won't get any more messages from your Uncle Harold about what he's bringing for dinner at Thanksgiving. It'll save you from the nightmare of endless discussions you don't want to be involved in. If you're using a different email client or email server check to see if it supports the mute option like GMail.

It's really helpful. BTW Outlook does.


1896. Fix Scroll Direction on Mac OS

I’ve never used a trackpad before, but my latest computer is a Mac. I now find myself trying to use the trackpad, and it seems that scrolling goes in the wrong direction. On my phone, when I swipe up, the content on the screen goes up. That’s how I’d like it to work, but on my Mac, things go the opposite direction! Can I make the trackpad on the Mac work like swiping on the phone?

The question of which way to scroll when you move your finger on the trackpad is very similar to the question about which direction should you place toilet paper on the paper holder. There is no right answer it's different for every person. Normally on a Mac when you scroll with the mouse wheel or move your finger on the trackpad the screen moves in the opposite direction.
The phone however works that when you move your finger up. The data on the screen moves up as well and if you want them to work the same and I'll confess that I do on the Mac.

Find trackpad settings and the easiest way to do that is press all space bar to get spotlight and then just type trackpad and hit enter. Find scroll and zoom options then select the scroll direction and set it to natural. That's a check mark you check. You'll probably want to make the same change for the mouse settings and once you do that the screen will move in the same direction you move your finger or scroll

The mouse wheel on the other hand once you do that other, people trying to use your computer will hate you and they'll hate your computer and once you get used to it you will find using anyone else's computer frustrating and incorrect. You will be the loner using your computer the way it was intended to be used everybody else does it wrong. On the other hand that's the way it comes to you'll have to make this change to make it happen. Go to settings find the trackpad settings and change it to natural scrolling. It's called natural for a reason.

1897. Does Uploading Count Towards my Data Cap?

My Internet Service Provider suddenly started applying a data cap to our Internet usage. Because we live in a rural area, we don’t have any options for our ISP, so we just have to live with it. Everything we see about the data cap deals with downloads. What about uploads? Are those counted against our data cap?

It's interesting although mobile ISP's like phone providers are moving back to unlimited data, Well it's really limited, and limited because they they sort of throttle you if you use too much. Home ISP's are starting to cap data.

Comcast does it, ATT does it and our local providers do as well. If you're streaming video you're probably OK. They factor in you're going to watch an hour or two of Netflix a day and that shouldn't hurt your data cap, but you aren't able to watch high definition 4K video for hours on end with almost any data service out there. If you send emails and there's photos or music attached that's not going to hurt you either, but sending lots of video or downloading lots of video could be a problem.

What's really going to hurt you is online backup because the question you asked is upload included in your data cap in the answer is absolutely. It's just data that moves between you and the server and online backup can be quite large if you're using Back Blaster or Carbonite two of the best online backup providers. It's a nice idea but it's bad for data caps.

You need to make sure you know what you're backing up and when you're doing it. Some ISP's like Usenet and I wouldn't recommend Usenet for much of anything, but if you're stuck with it they provide free times where you aren't counting against your data cap. Middle of the night for example.

So if you can do your backup then with Usenet you probably won't worry about your data cap. Other providers like Comcast don't have these time controls so you need to worry about it all the time.

Another big problem is an online security camera like a Nest Cam. We have one at my office and it's always sending video up to the cloud. If you're doing that from your home and you have a data cap you could have a problem.

So in answer to your question yes uploads counts and yes they could cause you to hit your data cap long before you think you should.


*Although mobile ISPs moving back to limited unlimited data, home ISP capping data
* Streaming video probably OK, but not 4K for hours on end
* Normal emails even with photos or msuci won't kill your cap, video more of a problem
* Online backup will kill you. Backblaze or Carbonite, nice ideas, bad for data caps
* Make sure you know what you're backing up, and when
* Some ISPs provide free data late at night (Hughes Net) and back up then
* Online security camera, like Nest Cam, a big problem; constrantly uploading video

Sunday, January 7, 2018

1891. iPhone pictures search

How can I sort thru my pictures on my iPhone or iPad to find something easier?

OK Ken really told me about this tip. I keep many pictures on my iPhone and can never find the one I want without going thru each picture. Ken suggested I use the search option.

1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
2. Tap on Photos or Albums in the bottom navigation.
3. Tap on the Search button in the top menu.

If I want to find a house picture I type house and magically your iPhone shows me all the picture of houses.

Cars? Type cars. It is pretty smart.

It however doesn't find all my pictures of Ken. Its good but can't do that.

1890. Windows 10 look and feel

I see a friends Windows 10 and many things are very different than the way mine looks. Why is it like this?

Well there may be many options But I would look at the Setting, Personalize section. There are many options to tune the way Windows looks and the way if operates.

I suggest you go to the Start menu, Settings, and the Personalize and review each section. You can then turn options on and off and evaluate the way things change. Remember what changes you make so you can always change things back later if you find out you liked it better before.

I change too many things one time and I forgot what I changed and still haven't found the correct item to put back. :(

1889. Clear open Windows in Windows 10

What happened to the Show Desktop icon so I can clear open Windows on Windows 10?

In all previous releases of Windows I could clcik an icon in the taskbar and close or open all windows. I can't find it?

Well there is something better. Point your mouse to the title bar of a window and hold the left button and shake the window. Yes shake it. All other windows will close. Well except that windows you are shaking.

Shake it again and they will open.

Another way to clear windows to show the desktop is to right button click on the Windows logo and select Desktop. All your windows will minimize.

Not a perfect solution but better than none. I do like to shake it. .

1888. MacOS Mail / Office 365 Email Hell

I upgraded to the new Apple operating system High Sierra and now I can't receive mail using MacOS Mail and my Office 365 account? Help!

I was helping a friend that has an Mac and they upgraded to High Sierra. They then went to MacOS Mail (the stamp icon) to access their email. They had two email accounts. One of which was with Office 365.

They noticed that some mail they were expecting hadn't arrived. So they used their browser to access the mail and the mail had come in. So why didn't MacOS Mail find it?

When I did some searching and found that since the High Sierra upgrade Apple broke MacOS MAIL and it was not working correctly with Office 365 accounts. At this time the problem does not affect all Office 365 accounts.

Apple and Microsoft are chatting about the problem. Wouldn't you like to be a fly on that wall?

The only options you have at this point is to wait and use your browser, or install one of many free or not free mail applications like Thunderbird, or Outlook. Apple says they will fix it but I wouldn't hold my breath.

1887. Shutter Bug

I keep making bad pictured on my iPhone. I can't click that Home button without jerking the phone and the pictures suck. Any suggestions?

I really don't use the many features of my smart phone and I am embarrassed when people ask me basic questions I should know the answer to.

But one day I was taking pictures and my friend noticed how I was struggling to click the home button on my iPhone to snap the picture. She said why don't you just click the up or down volume button. Duh!

If you have headphones the volume button also works. There are Bluetooth remote buttons available and if you have special photo apps like ProCamera you can press anywhere on the screen.

My photos are still shaky and blurred but at least I don't look dumb when I take the pictures.

1881. Excel print area

I have an Excel spreadsheet that I use to track my investments, and I’d like to print it to take to my tax guy. I don’t want to print the whole thing, though—I need to find some way to just print a portion of the spreadsheet. I don’t see an option to do this when I select the Print menu item. What’s the trick?

Excel uses a feature called print area to control what gets printed. When you use the print menu, first select the area you like to be printed this can be a single rectangular area or if you're fancy multiple rectangular areas, then from the File menu choose the print area option, and then select set print area.

That's it you're done now.

When you choose the print menu item you'll see that just the area you've selected available to print if you try to print a spreadsheet but it only prints a subset of the data it's most likely because you or someone else has used the set print area menu item to restrict printing. In that case to clear the set print area, choose the file menu, then print area, then clear print area. That way you can again print the entire spreadsheet.

It's a simple tip but it allows you to print a subset of an Excel spreadsheet.